Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mansions of Madness first play

Well after the nice little review by Martin over at Fire Broadside of Mansions of Madness I decided to take the plunge. I mean I love H.P. Lovecraft, I quite like Cluedo and I've found a renewed love for board games so why not? Well last night I continued the mission to try and convert Geology Girl and Dr Brainiac to the ways of gaming geekdom...

The view from the Games Master Chair, as I plot their downfall

Way more successfully in some respects and far less so in others. I'm going to be blunt, for our first run through of the game it was difficult to get all the rules and all of the ordering of things right, and I'm damn certain as the Games Master I screwed a few things up. Some in my favour and some in the Adventurers favour. So really it doesn't count as a win. However the evening was actually more fun than the D&D evening.

 Hobo meet Maniac, Manic KILL Hobo with axe!!!

I think this was for a few main reasons:

  1. I'm a HUGE H.P. Lovecraft nutcase and so too is Geology Girl and I think the two of us were able to 'hype' things up a bit more and create a better atmosphere.
  2. I think the game is simply a better game and the addition of an adversary, the Games Master, actually helps spice things up quite a bit.
  3. There was more depth to it in terms of things to do and with the time counting down a real sense of urgency to proceedings.
  4. There was actually a narrative and story to proceedings this time around unlike the D&D board games.

I think the only downsides were that as it was our first game and we had a few hiccups, and not knowing exactly how things should play out meant that we probably spent too long ferreting around in the box for counters and thingies rather than playing the game. This meant we only got the one game in. Although that game was more involved. Sadly though the males in the adventuring group, Mr Chaos Space Marine and the Cursed ran off leaving the ladies to die... very heroic guys, very heroic!!!

The Ground shakes - almost as badly as my camera work

I think we've all agreed it was a better game for the group to play on an evening of gaming between us and we're certainly going to do it again soon. Hopefully though with the added experience gained I'll be better prepared for set up next time and better able to keep things moving along and flowing nicely. There won't be a review though for a fair few weeks simply because I have not played anywhere near enough games to fairly comment on it. Peace out!


  1. Good to hear you liked it, even with a few hiccups!

    It was the same for us the firs time we tried it. For the second scenario I prepared in advance and made sure everything was in the right place. Also, like I mentioned elsewhere, the second scenario was more fun (for us at least).

    Looking forward to seeing more of Mansions of Madness! :)

  2. Heya Martin yeah it was good fun. I think its fair to say I fluffed a few of my lines as Games Master but there was a hell of a lot to remember for my first game. As I said next time we have a game I'll be much better prepared and have all of my cards and stuff ready prepared in zip lock bags and have made notes in my note book and have it all set up ready to go. If I had planned it well in advance we'd have got two games in quite easily I think. Also need to check why my link to your review of Mansions of Madness hasn't sodding worked!!! Bloody interwebz.

  3. Sorted now. Huzzah, I beat the interwebz!!!

  4. So, you think if the GM prepares well the game would be worth while?

  5. @Jordan, I think if the GM prepared well the game would run a hell of a lot smoother, that's for sure. Also like most board games I've found that the first 1 or 2 games are normally a 'learning' process. I personally think Mansion of Madness looks like it could be a really good little group game. I quite enjoyed the 'vibe' of Cluedo for fans of the occult, horror and Cthulu. It had a fair bit more than Cluedo of course and more adult theme and then there was the narrative. However I can't really fairly judge the game as it stands as we've only played one game badly!!! But it does show promise.

  6. Hey there frontline gamer, i'm currently working on a game ruleset by myself which is about ready for testing, i'd like to know if i could send you the rules for free so you could have a look through. Your experience would be incredible for taking apart a fledgling system, and i worry the gamers at my local club are a little too nice about the system for fear of upsetting me! ;)

    Cheers buddy!

  7. I really enjoyed the game, the "curse" hit again with dropping my pistols and then i Broke my leg!!!I would recommend this to any gamer to try, Frontline gamer has introduced me to these board games for the first time in 16 years of wargaming and i've really missed out

  8. @Chris I don't know. I'm not really sure I'd be the best person in the world to read over your rules to be honest with you. Also if I were you I actually want to see the game being played. One thing I've learned from my years wargaming is that things you read and think work ace sometimes don't make sense on the board and vice versa. If I were in your position I'd want to do a few things:

    1)Actually see two gamers who I know try and play the game and see if there interpretation of the rules is what I as author intended.
    2)When I've written things that are specialist I've given them normally to the least specialist person I know to see if they make sense (and maybe to torture them a little!!!)
    3) Intensive game testing with some really experienced wargamers, again those you know, to see if they can break it and to test for any balances.

    I have no idea how experienced you are or at what stage of the rules writing process you are but until you've done the above I'd suggest you're a while away from giving your rules to random bloggers like me!!! lol. If you would still like me to give them a once over I can do that but genuinely I'm not too sure I'd be the best person for the task, I'm not some uber gamer like some I just like toy soldiers. If you do want me to read them send them to

  9. @Chris I do know, yep you're still cursed!!! Ever time you used a skill point your roll meant it was pointless and every time and important roll was made where you risked not using a skill point, you failed. You ever considered working out what you want to do and then deliberately don the opposite? I think its a tactic that might work for you!!! ;)

  10. 'Sadly though the males in the adventuring group, Mr Chaos Space Marine and the Cursed ran off leaving the ladies to die... very heroic guys, very heroic!!!'

    To this I would like to add: they left us to die...AGAIN. This seems to happen a lot!

  11. @ilexica I didn't want to shame them too much. Their honour has been besmirched enough I think, but yes they left you girls twice. Chivalry it seems is well and truly dead.

    For those of you who don't know, ilexica is Dr Brainiac from my articles and is my far better half... God knows what she see's in me but I thank the lord she's clearly blind everyday I wake up!!!